The Prime Minister has forbidden some ministers from accompanying the President to Moscow.
It is becoming more evident that Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković is trying to sabotage the visit by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović to Russia. It is just a new phase in the conflict between the government and President, which is increasingly starting to look personal, reports Jutranji List on October 12, 2017.
Instead of Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić, Plenković has selected State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zdravka Bušić to be part of the President’s delegation for her most important visit this year after her bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump. Also, the delegation will not include Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Martina Dalić, although economic topics are expected to dominate the talks. Only Interior Minister Davor Božinović and Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek will accompany the President.
Also, Russia has not been given a building in Zagreb to which its diplomats could move, so this problem will undoubtedly be one of the topics that Grabar-Kitarović will have to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On 3 October, he said that he expected “Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović to visit the Russian Federation.” It is not often that Putin personally announces someone’s visit, even when it comes to larger countries than Croatia, which shows that the Russian leader considers the meeting to be significant.
However, in the meantime, there was a sudden turn of events which could throw a shadow on this long-awaited visit and even seriously compromise it. And it is not the issue of Russian banks in the case of Agrokor, Sberbank and VTB, which is a separate story altogether.
At the end of May, then Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier visited Moscow. At a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, they discussed the issue of the Russian Embassy building in Zagreb. For its diplomatic mission in Moscow, Croatia is using a building which has been provided by Russia and, according to diplomatic customs, Croatia should act in the same way. This issue has remained unsolved for a long time since Russian diplomats are currently located in a completely inappropriate building. Stier agreed with Lavrov that the problem would be solved in the shortest possible time. A building was found at 53 Bosanska Street, and other state bodies, including the Ministry of State Property, have agreed to give the building to the Russians. This issue was considered solved until a few days ago. The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has assessed that the building, which was chosen for the Russian Embassy, was too expensive.
The opening of this subject just before the visit of the President to Russia could thus overshadow significant political and economic issues to be discussed. The meeting was long and carefully prepared to build a foundation for improved relations between Russia and Croatia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted to the news about the new Russian Embassy building. “The Ministry dismisses simplified allegations that the solution has been blocked due to the lack of money on the Croatian side and suggestions that other bodies, such as the State Attorney’s Office, have given a positive opinion on the proposed way of solving the issue of the Russian Embassy in Zagreb. The procedure is still ongoing precisely because of the need to obtain relevant opinions from all the authorities whose jurisdiction involves some aspect of solving this complex issue, as well as the need to prepare a comprehensive proposal for the government. The Foreign Ministry also dismisses the allegations that the process has been slowed down by the government since no proposal has been sent to it yet.”
Translated from Jutarnji List.